Thursday, February 22, 2024

Her name was Sirajunnisa

2020 December 15 marks the 29th anniversary of the brutal police killing of a Kerala Muslim girl Sirajunnisa.

Her name was Sirajunnisa, an 11-year-old ordinary girl from Puduppalli Street of Palakkad in Kerala.

It was in December 1991 when the BJP chief Murali Manohar Joshi’s Ekta Yatra reached Kerala. The communal venom spread by the Sangh Parivar created an atmosphere of communal tension wherever they went. Palakkad was not any different. When an Upyatra was attacked in Mepparamb, a tense situation prevailed for the few next days and police had to resort to lathi-charge and firing. One side of Puduppalli Street was occupied by Agraharas of Brahmins and the other side occupied by Muslims. The street was calm and quiet when a police squad of Shornur ASP Sandhya passed through. Until then no violence was reported from the area.

On 15 December 1991, Sirajunnisa and her sister were playing in their courtyard while their neighbor, Muhamad, was watching them play. They were the only people in the scene. The police communicated this peaceful situation to the control room manned by Raman Srivastava, the then DIG. He was informed by ASP Sandhya that the situation was under control and no police action was required. However, Raman Srivastava ordered firing at the ‘Muslim bastards’ in order to ‘let them die like dogs’. When Sandhya handed over the Walkie-talkie to the DSP, as directed by Srivastava, the latter said to the DSP: “I want dead bodies of some Muslim bastards” and ordered him to shoot the girls down at once. The order was promptly heeded and two constables executed the order by firing at Sirajunnisa. The bullet hit just under Sirajunnisa’s nose and came piercing out through the back of her head. She succumbed to her injury on the spot.

Raman Srivastava was elevated to the post of IG and then to DGP in 1999 by the then Kerala CM and Congress leader Oommen Chandy. Srivastava is now a police adviser (chief secretary rank) of the CPIM politician and Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

The only offense which ‘justified’ her murder was that she was a ‘Muslim’. Justice has not yet been done to the soul of that girl and to the conscience of thousands of others who were startled by the action of the then head of police, Raman Srivastava.

(The above piece is an excerpt from lawyer Fasila AK’s article in India Resist, published in 2013. Read the full article here.)


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